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House moves to Russia PNTR vote, with jobs and growth at stake

Nov 14, 2012
David Thomas

The House of Representatives plans a vote this week on H.R. 6156, the Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) legislation for Russia. In considering the bill, the important point: Evidence is clear that international trade and investment overall creates economic growth and job opportunities for U.S. companies and workers:

  • In 2008, more than 38 million jobs in America—more than one in five—depended on international trade – both exports and imports.
  • In 1992, a year before the United States began to implement a series of U.S. bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements, the total of trade-related jobs in the United States was only 14.5 million.
  • The growth of 24 million new trade-related jobs for U.S. workers over two decades demonstrates clearly that trade is an important engine for economic growth and job creation.
  • In 2009, more than 275,000 American companies exported merchandise to foreign customers.

Russia is the world’s 9th largest economy and has roughly 142 million consumers.  Russia imported nearly $300 billion in goods in 2011, yet the United States accounted for only 5 percent of those imports.  An economy and population of that size should not be just our 31st largest goods export market.  Clearly, there is a lot of room to expand U.S. exports to Russia.

Our foreign competitors have had a leg up on the United States since Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) this past August.  For roughly 80 days now, all the other 155 members of the WTO have been able to fully access Russia’s market and to hold Russia to its market opening promises related to its WTO membership.  But American companies and workers have not been able to enjoy those same benefits and rights because Congress has not yet passed Russia PNTR legislation.

Now is the time for Congress to act and help benefit U.S. companies and workers.  Business Roundtable urges strong bipartisan votes on Russia PNTR in the House later this week and, as soon as possible, in the Senate so that companies and workers have a fair chance to compete with their foreign competitors and sell more American goods and services to the growing Russian market.

For more on the economic benefits of Russia PNTR, visit www.brt.org/Russia.

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